Ali (radi Allahu anhu) narrated: “Once the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) asked the Companions, ‘What is the best thing for a woman?’ Nobody answered. Later when I went home, I asked Fatimah the same question. She (radi Allahu anha) replied, ‘The best thing for a woman is to protect herself from the eyes of men.’ I told the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) Fatimah’s answer. He replied, ‘Indeed, Fatimah is a part of me.’” [Kashf-ul Astaar]
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) approved of her answer, that the best thing for a woman is to protect herself from the eyes of men.
There is so much emphasis placed on women to guard themselves from men and stay in their homes that their participation even in the highly rewarded congregational prayers, funerals and burials is not considered desirable. For them, the greater reward is in their acting on the words of their Creator and Nourisher: “And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance.” [Quran: Surah Ahzab, Ayat 33